Tag: Timothy Sperber

florida clergy abuse sexual

Why You Should Care About These Men Who Came to Florida

Bear with us a bit and we’ll tell you who these guys are and why you should know about them.

Hugh Behan left Jefferson City MO, coming to Orlando. So did Martin McCamley who was from Altoona PA. Walter Coleman was in Bridgeport CT but moved to Miami. So did George Zirwas of Pittsburgh PA. Robert J. Brague left Scranton PA for Naples. Richard J. Giuliani left Allentown PA for St. Augustine.

Some moved multiple times. John J. Whiteley of St. Louis MO moved Venice and then Miami. Thomas J. Benestad left Allentown PA and moved to Boca Raton and then Palm Beach.

Timothy Sperber left Harrisburg PA, moving to Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Miami, Venice and Punta Gorda. And Robert E. Spangenberg moved even more – from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina before ending up in Sarasota.

Similarly, John (Jerry) Kucan was in four Pennsylvania towns (Sharon, Bethlehem, Steelton and Beaver Falls), two Wisconsin towns in Wisconsin and two Illinois towns before finding his way to the Sunshine State.

Not to be outdone, however, is Roger A. Sinclair who also spent time in four Pennsylvania towns (Connellsville, Latrobe, Uniontown and Kittanning) then joined the military and moved to California, Kansas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon and ultimately Florida.

Finally, there are other men who – like Kucan and Sinclair- who moved south to unknown Florida towns: John Phillip Schanz (from Erie PA), Stanley M. Gana (from Philadelphia), Roger J. Trott (from Greensburg PA), and Ferdinand B. Demsher and Bernard J. Kaczmarczyk (both from Pittsburgh).

Who are these guys?

Each one is a proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic cleric.

And here’s where this gets interesting:

We learned ALL of this from secular sources (mainstream media accounts and law enforcement reports.)

We learned NONE of this from Catholic officials.

“How can this be?” you might ask. “All US bishops have long promised to be ‘open and transparent’ about abuse. In fact, in 2002, they all signed on to a supposedly-binding national ‘charter’ that mandates this kind of disclosure. And many of them have posted predators’ names and assignments on their websites. How come these transfers and moves can still be kept hidden?”

The answer: making promises and keeping promises are not the same.

“Well, who are these ‘secular sources’ you cite and how reliable are they?” you might ask.

They are all publicly-available reports issued in recent years by law enforcement officials and/or a credible, Massachusetts-based non-profit called BishopAccountability.org, which bases its information on court records and mainstream media accounts. (Please check out their outstanding website. And look for the tab on the left hand side of their home page called “Grand Jury and Other Reports.”)

“Wait,” you might ask “Were these child molesters SENT here by bishops or did they move here on their own?”

Some of both. But here’s OUR question: “Does that matter? Almost two decades ago, bishops said they’d start being more honest and forthcoming about predator priests. Don’t they have a moral and civic duty to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about potentially dangerous men in their jurisdictions, no matter how they got there?”

And one final question: “Who’s responsible for this continued and reckless secrecy and what can be done about it?”

Those answers will come soon in another blog. So please check back with us soon.

 

Fr. Timothy Sperber – Diocese of Harrisburg

Fr. Timothy Sperber – Diocese of Harrisburg

Fr. Timothy Sperber

Ordained: 1978

On Duty Outside Diocese (Archdiocese of Miami): 1992-2000

Suspended from ministry: 2000

Assigned IN THE DIOCESE OF HARRISBURG as follows:
  • St. Joan of Arc (Hersey, PA)
  • St. John Neumann (Lancaster, PA)
  • St. Philip the Apostle (Millersville, PA)
Summary of Allegations against Fr. Timothy Sperber:

According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Harrisburg received an allegation in 2004 that a priest named “Fr. Tim” sexually abused her in 1979 when she was 9 or 10 years old.  She attended St. Joan of Arc school in Hershey and struggled with math. The school principal asked Fr. Tim Sperber, who was a young priest in the parish, to tutor her.

According to the victim, she was called to the rectory during the school day.  The priest was very touchy-feely with her, and eventually he told her to remove her shirt.  He fondled her small breasts and nipples before telling her to turn around. He then rubbed something against her back that she now believes was his finger or erect penis. This lasted until she heard him make a strange noise and then her back was wet.  She realized as an adult that he ejaculated on her back; all she knew at the time is that her back was sticky the rest of the day.

The following year, when she needed a tutor again, she begged the principal not to make her see Fr. Tim again, and told him what happened.  The principal got very angry and told her that she was a liar and “a demon child.” She was expelled from St.Joan of Arc.

In 1992, Sperber took an assignment in the Archdiocese of Miami to reportedly tend to an ailing mother.  In the Archdiocese of Miami, Sperber served at St. Gregory Church in Plantation and St. Boniface Church in Pembroke Pines before taking a leave of absence in 1998. When he was set to return to Harrisburg for assignment in 2000, he wrote to the Bishop and informed him that he had no intention of returning to his ministry.  He was suspended for failure to report to his assignment. His current status with the Diocese of Harrisburg is unclear as the Diocese has never stated that he was laicized.

Sperber’s name appears on the Diocese of Harrisburg’s August 2018 list of accused priests. Unfortunately, very little information about the allegation(s) against Sperber was provided, though it did give a lengthy disclaimer about the allegation that the victim, a female, accused a “Father Tim” of molesting him and Sperber was the only “Tim” assigned to the parish at the time of the alleged abuse.

Sperber is alive and believed to be residing in the Port Charlotte, Florida.  As of 2018, he was working as a music minister at a local Church of Christ in Punta Gorda.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania.  The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Harrisburg may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Harrisburg if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.